Jessie Janeshek



I get the barely-there    barely-seem-to-be-holding-on-ness
               the white walk across the slag heap for money
and over me an angry plane
               because I want a day
where I can handle more than one thing and not try to die.
               As a child I thought it’d be smooth
to slide down the slag heap under the moon
               in a shiny green jacket
my reflection in the cheap TV winking at me
               the man hanging wallpaper      twinkling with glue
all that mattered was the red car       rope shadow on the wall
               how the barn door closed.

Dried blood up my nose           eating the chips and nuts everyone touches
               thin motor court beds and floppy men trying
to rev their bikes at me sexily.
               Fish loss, I can’t make and keep friends
               I can’t string a bow
but my grandmother left me an antique fur coat
               I wore over my wedding dress
as down for the count    Anytown bled
               I wouldn’t put out my cigarette
when I left the kids at the courthouse.

Keep cool, cover wounds. Most soil is lacking
                and it would be something       to walk off the soundstage
in natural light                  with sharp teeth and stagger
               across the astroturf graveyard
no crossed eyes, no freckles          a plastic chalice and styrofoam cross
               or in another life a yellow closet full of dresses
I’d wear as costumes    pretend page boy secretary
               and in another life I would keep writing
my sense of foreboding is false.

In another life I burned. Now I’m too tired to get there
               I got this far and stopped at Woolworth’s for popcorn
                                 for the bridal-like cap and how you said
I could only wear dresses and carry
               the dead cat like a baby
and how I grew out my hair
               and now I don’t know what to do with it
Note: This poem conjures the film Wanda.